Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC)?
  2. What is the overall philosophy of the project?
  3. How is Library Support Staff defined?
  4. What is the value and benefit of LSSC?
  5. Why do LSS enroll in LSSC?
  6. Who is eligible to participate in LSSC?
  7. When can I enroll in the program?
  8. What do I have to do to be certified?
  9. What are the competency sets?
  10. How can I demonstrate my competency in these areas?
  11. Does the LSSC program offer these courses?
  12. What is the Degree or Certificate Recognition Agreement with course providers?
  13. Are courses offered locally?
  14. Where do I find out about approved courses and Recognition Agreements?
  15. How can I get help in preparing a portfolio?
  16. I’ve taken many courses and workshops. Will they “count”?
  17. May I receive credit for working in a library?
  18. How long will I have to finish my certification work?
  19. How long will certification last and will I have to get it renewed?
  20. If I stop working in a library, will certification make a difference if I get a job in another profession?
  21. What is the total cost to get certified in the LSSC Program?
  22. Can an institution pay for a candidate by using a purchase order?
  23. Do I have to be a member of ALA to participate?
  24. How will LSSC relate to state certification programs?
  25. Who has been involved in developing LSSC?
  26. What is the ALA-APA?
  27. Where can I find additional information?

1. What is Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC)?An ALA approved program that recognizes the achievement of Library Support Staff who work in libraries. LSSC is managed by the ALA – Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA).

2. What is the overall philosophy of LSSC?
LSSC recognizes the value of the contribution of Library Support Staff to quality public service and efficient operation of a library by offering voluntary certification based on a nationally recognized set of competencies.

3. How is Library Support Staff defined?
Library Support Staff (LSS) work in a library position that does not require a Master’s of Library and Information Science

4. What is the value and benefit of LSSC?

  • Earns you the respect and recognition you deserve
  • Allows you to demonstrate your value to the library
  • Gives you an edge on a job or promotion
  • Increases your self-confidence
  • Goes with you when change jobs or move; portable to other states
  • Provides proof of your achievements
  • Increases your understanding of total library operation
  • Helps you better serve library users.

5. Why do LSS enroll in LSSC?
Candidates tell us they enroll for the following reasons:

  • To enhance library skills
  • To enhance library service
  • To obtain recognition for their accomplishments
  • To advance their career or obtain a job

6. Who is eligible to participate in LSSC?

  • Any LSS who has a minimum of a high school degree or its equivalency and
  • has worked or volunteered in any type of library for a minimum of 1 year (1820 hours) within the last 5 years.

While not a requirement, there is an expectation that a candidate will have a basic understanding of technology, including word processing, email, and how to edit, save, attach, and manipulate files. Also, a candidate needs access to a computer on which to store work towards certification before adding to the LSSC Certification Management System.

7. When can I enroll in the program?
You may enroll at any time. There are no application deadlines.

8. What do I have to do to be certified?
Successfully complete six of the ten competency sets established by LSSC, three required and three electives.

9. What are the competency sets?

Required

Electives (choose any three)

10. How can I demonstrate my competency in these areas?
There are two ways to demonstrate competency.

  • Successfully complete a course approved by the LSSC program, or
  • Prepare and submit a portfolio online in the competency area that is positively evaluated  by subject experts.

LSS who have have significant experience and knowlege in one of the competency sets may want to consider the portfolio approach. Preparation of a portfolio equivalent to work required by an approved course.

You may achieve some competency sets by completing courses and others sets using the portfolio method.  If you prepare a portfolio, you do not need to take a course in that competency set.  If you take a course, you do not need to prepare a portfolio in that competency set.

11. Does the LSSC program offer these courses?
No, LSSC does not offer courses directly. The LSSC program approves courses offered by any library education provider.

  • state libraries
  • state library associations
  • regional library cooperatives
  • community colleges
  • ALA divisions and other units
  • individual consultants

12. What is a Degree or Certificate Recognition Agreement with course providers?

LSSC works with Community Colleges that offer either an Associate Degrees or Certificates in library support staff training programs.  LSSC reviews college’s graduation requirements and then individual courses to find if the college requires its graduates to complete courses that cover three elective and three required LSSC Competency Sets.  If so, LSSC will sign an agreement with the College that states their graduates must only apply and enroll in LSSC to receive the LSSC Certification.  These graduates need not complete additional courses or submit portfolios.

13. Are courses offered locally?
Approved courses are offered face-to-face or online. You may want to ask library educational providers in your area to contact LSCC program staff about offering an approved course.

14. Where do I find out about approved courses and Recognition Agreements?
On this website under “Approved Course Catalog.” Remember to check the site frequently as we add courses as they are approved.

15. How can I get help in developing and submitting a portfolio?
This website contains information on preparing a portfolio.   LSSC staff also offers regular webinars on portfolio preparation. LSSC staff are available to do preconferences or presentations at state conferences. LSSC staff will also review portfolios before they are officially submitted for evaluation.

16. I’ve taken many courses and workshops – will they “count”?
If the course has been approved by LSSC or graduated from a program that has a Recognition Agreement you can receive credit for that work up to two years before it was approved.  If you are preparing a portfolio, you can use the information that you gained in the course or workshop in preparing your portfolio, however, you may not receive credit directly for courses that are not approved by LSSC.

17. May I receive credit for my experience working in a library?
Not directly. However, you may use what you have learned in working in a library to prepare a portfolio to achieve  a competency set.

18. How long will I have to finish my certification work?
From initial admission into the program, candidates will have four years to successfully complete the six competency sets.

19. How long will certification last and will I have to get it renewed?
Initial certification is for four years from your successful completion of the LSSC program. Certification holders must renew their certification before the end of their initial certification period and every four years thereafter. Certification holders can renew their certification anytime in the 12 months before their current certification expires and have a grace period of two months after their initial certification expires. Within this time, LSSC holders must provide documentation that they have met the continuing education requirement.

The requirement for renewal is completion of 32 contact hours in educational activities directly related to the competency sets. The 32 hours must include at least four hours in an educational activity related to technology. Please be sure to read the entire Renewal Policy, which discusses the procedure in more depth as well as the costs of renewal.

20. If I stop working in a library, will certification make a difference if I work in another profession?
It certainly should. Achievement of at least two of the competency sets, Communication and Teamwork and Supervision and Management, have benefit no matter in what field you work. This is also true of LSSC’S emphasis on customer service and serving diverse populations In addition, your dedication to obtain certification illustrates your desire to learn new skills and demonstrates your ability to perform quality work. All of this should be recognized by future employees, in or out of the library arena.

21. What is the total cost to get certified in the LSSC Program?
There is no one answer to that question. The application fee to become an LSSC candidate is $350 ($325 for ALA members). This fee goes to the LSSC Program at ALA-APA and includes a four-year subscription to an online Certification Management System through LiveText, Inc.

You may achieve competency sets in two ways: by submitting a portfolio or by taking an approved course. If you choose to submit portfolios, the cost is $50 per portfolio for ALA members, $60 per portfolio for non-ALA members. If you choose to take approved courses, the course fee is set by the course provider. LSSC and ALA-APA do not participate in setting this fee and none of it reverts to LSSC.

22. Can an institution pay for a candidate by using a purchase order?
Yes. Individuals should apply using the online registration/application form and select the pay by check option on the payment screen. The institution must submit a purchase order with the names of the individuals applying to the LSSC Program, their email addresses, and the payment amount to:

LiveText, Inc.
Attention: Razia Malick
1 S. La Grange Road, 2nd Floor
La Grange, Illinois 60525-2455
866-LiveText (866-548-3839)
Fax: 708-588-1793

LiveText will send the institution an invoice, and the applicants’ accounts will be activated once payment is received.

23. Do I have to be a member of ALA to participate?
No.

24. How will LSSC relate to state certification programs?
The LSSC Advisory Committee is asking state certification programs to evaluate the Competency Sets and LSSC program. States could adopt the LSSC or adapt a state program using the LSSC. Any decision will be up to each individual state.

25. Who has been involved in developing LSSC?
LSSC was developed with a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and with an Advisory Committee composed of representatives from the:

  • Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA)
  • Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS)
  • Public Library Association (PLA)
  • Library  Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA)
  • Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
  • Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)
  • Library Support Staff Interests Round Table (LSSIRT)
  • ALA Committee on Education (COE)

26. What is the ALA-APA?
The ALA Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) is a service organization to the American Library Association and the library community. ALA-APA was created to enable certification of individuals in library specializations  and to work for better salaries, pay equity and increased status for librarians and other library workers. The ALA Executive Board approved LSSC and the ALA-APA will manage the program on an ongoing basis.

27. Where can I find additional information?
LSSC website (www.ala-apa.org/lssc/). You may also contact the LSSC office at 800-545-2433 ext. 2424 or lssc@ala.org.